How the Twit­ter ‘I’ war was won

CityPress - - T# -

When not be­ing used to spam the Twit­ter­sphere, a Twit­ter­bot can be an im­mensely pow­er­ful tool for mak­ing so­cial media a more friendly and equal space. Last week a bot ac­count called @DroptheIBot was put to work by Amer­i­can jour­nal­ists Jorge Ri­vas and Pa­trick Ho­gan to make Twit­ter users re­con­sider their use of the term ‘illegal im­mi­grant’. When­ever some­one tweets the dreaded “I” words, Drop the I Bot au­to­mat­i­cally re­sponds by sug­gest­ing an al­ter­na­tive: “Peo­ple aren’t illegal. Try say­ing ‘un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grant’ or ‘unau­tho­rised im­mi­grant’ in­stead.” The bot comes af­ter a state­ment is­sued in 2013 by the As­so­ci­ated Press that asked its jour­nal­ists to stop us­ing the phrase. “Use illegal only to re­fer to an ac­tion, not a per­son: illegal immigration, but not illegal im­mi­grant,” it read. In­stead, the state­ment sug­gested, they should re­fer to peo­ple as “liv­ing in” or “en­ter­ing a coun­try il­le­gally”. @Ev­ery­word is another awe­some Twit­ter­bot that has tweeted a dif­fer­ent word ev­ery half hour since 2008, and last year fi­nally com­pleted the en­tire English vo­cab­u­lary.


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